|LabGuy's World: Quarter Inch
New Addition 01.03.14
New Photo! 01.08.02
Akai VT-700 1/4" B/W Video Recorder
Vintage early/mid 1970s. This is an extremely unique creature! It uses
1/4" open reel video tape. Compatible with the Roberts and other Akai VTR's
that follow. Note that the reel platters are on different planes (levels).
This allows the reels to overlap each other. This machine can take up to
a 10. 5" reel of 1/4" tape giving it a 90 minute running time. Long enough
to record a whole movie! The first photo is what I like to call a "glamour"
shot. The second photo is a close-up of the tape threading path diagram
from the inside of the front cover. This unit stands about 19" tall and
weighs in at a hefty 45 pounds.
After receiving my machine
from an eBay auction, I threaded up a tape and the darn thing played it
OK ~ sort of ~ mostly. It records too. I recorded multiburst, a test signal
that is used to measure frequency response. Needless to say, this format
is not the highest performing, but it makes usable pictures with just over
2 Mhz of
|bandwidth. This translates to roughly 190
lines of horizontal resolution (not be confused with scanning lines). Final
conclusion: this deck will need a good cleaning, all of its electrolytic
capacitors replaced, and a total mechanical tune up. But, compared to recent
acquisitions, this one is a winner!
Since getting this machine,
I have received several requests for tape dubs. Apparently, a lot of people
shot home movies and live sporting events with their very portable Akai
1/4" video equipment. Once this machine is fully restored (very soon I
hope), I will be pleased to dub your tapes to VHS. If you have any service
tips to offer, feel free to contact me at [THIS
STILL NEEDED: Original
operator's manuals, 10. 5" reels (with or without tape).
New Addition 01.03.01
New Photos! 01.03.14
1969: Roberts 1000 1/4" Stereo Audio OR
Vintage late 1960s. To quote a 1969 magazine advert: "If you had owned
the Roberts "1000" VTR last July 20th, you would have videotaped man's
first moon landing...". So true, so true!
This is an extremely
unique creature! Thread the 1/4" tape one way and it's a quarter track
stereo audio deck (Right photo). Thread the 1/4" tape the other way and
it's a quarter inch B/W VTR (Left Photo). Now, that's just too cool! It
is compatible with the portapacks that follow. It is heavy! Extremely HEAVY
~ about 80 pounds!
I just got this baby
off of eBay, the world's largest auction.
It suffered shipping damage, of course. The
|heavier the item, the more packing material
required to protect it. The damage is mostly cosmetic and can probably
be fixed. The top cover is broken into a couple of separate pieces.
The deck itself is in
gorgeous condition. But, the electronics have some problems. The video
heads are intact, but don't spin. The headphone output is dead. The audio
line outputs, in stereo mode, sound very muffled and distorted and the
deck won't go into reverse play. I suspect a problem in the power supply.
I have a hot lead on
service literature for this beasty, but if you have a service manual feel
free to contact me anyway.
Updated & New Photo! (01.03.22)
Akai VTS-100 B/W portapack system.
Vintage early 1970s. The system consists of the VT-100 VTR, VTC-100 vidicon
camera and the VM-100 "side car" video monitor. This system was unique
in that it records on 1/4" tape. To compensate for the narrow tape width,
the linear tape speed is higher than for half inch systems. Half inch systems
run at 7.5 IPS, while this Akai runs at 11 IPS.
The camera has a 10 mm
to 40 mm, f 1. 8 zoom lens, a "through the lens" optical viewfinder and
a built in microphone. The imager is a 2/3" vidicon tube. A start / stop
button is built into the sculpted handle. This is the mate to this VTR.
Very light weight and compact, weighing 20 pounds complete, it's the most
portable of the portapack VTR's from this era. This VTR may be working,
however the monitor only lights up, but shows no picture. Contact me if
you have the service manuals for this system. Let's talk!
UPDATE 01.03.22: Service
manuals have been obtained for these beauties. I now have three VT-100
VTR's and several VM-100 monitors! None of them functioning, but all have
that potential. After my work responsibilities, preparing for the NAB convention
in April, are behind me, I will be going to work on these full time! Note:
The center photo above is a newer much higher quality one.
New Entry! 03.05.13
Akai Television Receiver Module!
The TV receiver module allowed
the owner of most Akai portable VTRs to record programs off the air. The
one exception is the VT-100, which has not got the ability to record from
an external source. Sadly, this tuner is missing both of the main knobs
for VHF and UHF. The outer case has been exposed to a great deal of sun
light over the years. This is evident by the yellow tint relative to my
This tuner sits between
the VTR and the 3" sidecar monitor. It is actually a simple matter to make
the tuner and monitor into a stand alone television. You need only provide
the pair 12 volts DC through the VTR connector. See the CONNECTORS
PAGE for details.
This module contains
two tuners, one for VHF channels 2 through 13, and the other for UHF channels
14 through 83. It has a built in extending rod antenna or an external antenna
may be connected and selected with the slide switch on the left. The right
hand switch selects between VTR and TV, just like on a modern VCR!
Updated & New Photo! (01.03.22)
Two views of the Akai VT-110 1/4" VTR.
Vintage early to mid 1970s. This essentially the same as the system described
above. The VT-110 VTR differs from the VT-100 in that it has the addition
of still frame, audio dub and TV (external video) recording capabilities.
This system uses the VA-110 AC adapter unit (not shown) and the VM-110
sidecar video monitor. This VTR records 20 minutes of black and white video
and mono audio on an 1100' of 1/4" tape running at 11 IPS.
I just got the VTR in the first
picture (01.03). It ran for about 15 minutes before the capstan motor gave
up the ghost. I don't have a service manual for this particular deck, but
I hope that the manual for the VT-100 will apply enough to help repair
the capstan circuit in this one.
In the second picture
you can see those reels really spin when the VTR is running! It looks like
|forward compared to some of my other video
machines. Yes, you see correctly! The VTR is pulling tape. In fact, this
machine is fully operational! That makes it the first working Akai 1/4"
VTR that I had ever seen that could produce video!!! Most of them have
had broken video heads. More impressive than that, this one took a terrible
beating during shipping and no longer has the top cover, yet it works fine!
I have no idea where the original owner found that tiny cute reel of video
tape. . .
NOTE: The first photo above is a newer
much higher quality picture of the VT-110.
WANTED: Service and User's Manuals for
all of this stuff.
Akai VT-120 1/4" VTR and the VC-115 Portapack
Vintage early to mid 1970s. Again, essentially the same as the system described
above. The VT-120 VTR has all of the features of the VT-110 as well as
many electronic improvements. It also has the same still frame, audio dub
and TV (external video) recording capabilities. This system uses the VA-120
AC adapter unit (not shown) and the VM-110 sidecar video monitor. This
VTR records 20 minutes of black and white video and
||mono audio on 1200' of 1/4" tape running at
11 IPS and is compatible with both the VT-100 and VT-110.
This system has not been tested
yet. Stay tuned for the results of that!
WANTED: Service and User's Manuals for
all of this stuff.
New photos! (02.07.16)
Akai VT-150 1/4" Color VTR and VC-150 Color
Portapack Video Camera.
Vintage 1974, serial number 101. This is the high point of the Akai 1/4"
VTR series of products. Probably never produced in any large quantity,
these are very rare! At this point, Akai may have abandoned compatibility
with the earlier B/W units. The VTR does have a color / BW mode select
switch. This machine uses the same tape path as the B/W units, but runs
at a slightly slower speed of 10 IPS providing up to 25 minutes recording
time on a 5" diameter, 1100 foot long roll of high energy "color" tape.
I have not tested the system at this time, so it is unclear whether the
BW mode is compatible with the older machines. Stay tuned for the answer
to this question.
Photos one and two are
glamour shots of the VT-150 VTR itself. Photo three is of the logo badge
and threading diagrams. The logo is on the top cover outside, threading
diagram is on the top cover inside. The
|fourth photo is of the utility panel on the
side of the VTR. Not shown is the actual camera connector which is an EIAJ
12 pin female type. The fifth photo shows the system packed in its handsome
carrying case. The last photo is of the matching VC-150 color camera covered
much more extensively [HERE]. The AC power
supply and battery charger, which is not shown, is model VA-150. DC power
is provided by two internal 6 volt lead acid batteries.
Overall, this system
is in virtually brand new "show room" condition! I will be testing this
system soon, so as usual, Stay Tuned!
WANTED: User's Manuals for all of this
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Last updated: May 13, 2003